Patrick Mahomes’ tirade was uncharacteristic, but his response was more telling

In the hours after Patrick Mahomes’ startlingly uncharacteristic conniption in the wake of the crazy and controversial end of the Chiefs’ loss to Buffalo on Sunday, I kept checking social media for his inevitable expression of remorse for the tirade.

Especially since he allowed it to go on so long as to let it consume and even sully the postgame greeting of his Buffalo counterpart, rival and friend, Josh Allen.

Not that anyone might regret acting out as he had, because not just anyone would … and surely less so among superstars.

Not because just anyone would say it out loud if they did have the conscience to feel that way, because certainly not everyone has it in them to say out loud that they were wrong.

And not because he’s brand-conscious, though surely he must be given the infinite brands with which he’s associated.

No: I figured it was coming because he knows who he is and what he wants to stand for. And that that wasn’t it.

In fact, the reason you could anticipate him imminently standing tall on this is the reason it was so jarring to begin with.

Sure, Mahomes brims with fire as a competitor, something easily witnessed game-in and game-out for years now and amplified all the more in the “Quarterback” documentary by Netflix.

But that energy is nearly always harnessed into an infectious zeal. And he’s also at heart a gracious sportsman — a trait that bookended even the Maxx Crosby episode in the aforementioned documentary despite his wild flareup in the middle.

Moreover, Mahomes also is as accountable an athlete as you’ll ever meet, one typically eager to elaborate on mistakes. He’s somehow both self-assured and unassuming enough that you could expect it to be second-nature for him to own an unseemly look or action.

As it happened, Mahomes slept on the mea culpa before starting to offer his contrition Monday during his weekly radio appearance on KCSP (610 AM) and noting “you can’t be that way towards officials and really anybody in life.”

Once with that particular audience wasn’t enough, though. He reiterated and even expanded on the point Wednesday during his weekly news conference, including acknowledging he’d reached out to Allen.

Most striking, though, was this:

If the Chiefs’ nominee for the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award feels any particular pressure as the face of the franchise (not to mention the visage of the city and certainly among the most prominent in the NFL), chances are it’s not what you might expect him to say.

The real pressure, he said, is that of “being a good person.”

“I try to act in a way that I’m a good role model,” he said, “because I looked up to guys on this stage ever since I was a little kid running through the locker room.”

Noting his animated play often had been shown “in good ways,” he added, “Obviously, (that) wasn’t a good way (and) at the end of the day, I’m just trying to be the best person that I can be.

“‘Face of the franchise,’ NFL stuff, that’s going to come and go,” he added. “But if I can show the person that I am every single day and that sets an example, that’s what I want (to have done) when my career’s over.”

(An aside: Some here will want to chastise him for his drinking during the Super Bowl parades. And I agree more restraint would be a better message. But I find it hard to condemn given all they go through and what it takes and what it means to win it all.)

All of these words could sound like hollow platitudes or just mechanical mutterings if you didn’t know Mahomes’ sincerity and the history that confirms it.

Observe him over time, though, and you know it: He has an uncanny, almost unprecedented, knack for doing and saying the right things and conveying meaningful messages about family, work ethic, community and even empathy and manners.

Look, he’s been such a sensation and such a revelation for Chiefs fans that many might love him even if he were a jerk.

But part of what has made his emergence so exhilarating is that he’s an admirable character Chiefs fans are thrilled to be identified with him.

Turns out he’s perfectly human, too. And that sometimes like anybody else under enormous pressure and/or dealing with one-too-many issues gone awry, it all erupts at once.

In his case, though, how he’s handled the aftermath of the moments he wishes he had back has illuminated who he really is in a fresh way.

Given the trying stretch of four losses in six games and the controversial endings of the last two games, Mahomes was asked about whether it’s more important to lead verbally or by example as the Chiefs prepared for New England on Sunday and the stretch run.

Action, he said, is always “first for me. You have to prove that you’re doing things the right way in order to be able to say anything (to others). … Then when you use your words, they mean more. It’s not just words.”

In this case, though, his words mean plenty because they represented a telling action of their own.

Action that should have surprised no one but is reassuring, nonetheless — and a reminder of why Sunday should be filed as an aberration.

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